re: PAL JOEY REVIEW

lightguy06222
Broadway Star
joined:12/3/06
PAL JOEY REVIEW
Posted: 12/12/08 at 11:05am
Show ONE on my 11 show trip to NYC. Feel free to comment.


Currently in previews at Studio 54, Pal Joey works extremely hard to make you his Pal, but inevitably falls flat much of the time. Newly promoted Matthew Risch is still struggling to find meaning in his role, and it shows in his vacant portrayal of Joey. With a few more character development rehearsals throughout previews, and the opportunity to become comfortable in the role, I imagine he may settle in very well, but at this point, he struggles carrying the show on his shoulders, a task extremely difficult for a Broadway Chorus Boy turned Leading Player overnight. It is obvious that he knows how to act, and he acts and dances well, but doesn’t seem to have the vocal chops to carry the show. Neither does the majority of the cast for that matter.

Stockard Channing brilliantly portrays Vera Simpson, the “Mrs. Robinson” role with ease, yet when it comes time to sing one of the shows signature songs, “Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered,” she stumbled through the lyrics, half singing, half speaking… and very intensely speaking with such passion that you can see why she is such a fantastic actress- she just no longer has the vocal
chops of Miss 1978 Betty Rizzo.

Martha Plimpton portrays the sassy diva Gladys Bump well, but also seems to struggle in the vocal department. Of all three principals, she is an absolute standout, both in her Jazzy performance numbers, and in her more intimate, vunerable scenes.

The set, designed by Scott Pask was beautifully done on an operatic scale, but seemed underused for the smaller, intimate shows that was being performed. I imagine that this show could have been done with a simplier, sexier set, like the one designed for the Roundabout Revival of Cabaret by Robert Brill, rather than the expansive 20 foot tall railroad overpass that portrays Chicago, and encompassed the entire stage. The beautiful spiral staircase that sprouted downstage left was extremely effective, but far too tall, requiring the actors to climb the full length of the proscenium every time they entered or exited the club “Chez Joey.” Also, the large mirrored wall box upstage centre seemed pointless. Although I had my quibbles with the set, the curtain used for the club scenes was beautifully simple, with fantastic colorful lighting by Paul Gallo. The turntables downstage left and right proved extremely effective for transitions, and were not distracting to the audience. Finally, the units that moved downstage on a track, were also very well designed.

Costumes by William Ivey Long were perfect for the show (as usual with Long), and well tailored to the actors bodies. Having never seen the show before, I came in with completely open eyes, not expecting a thing. In that sense, the show still exceeded my expectations. It was an extremely well done, fast paced production, and anyone not as critical as I am will absolutely enjoy it, even through the extremely useless songs in the show, like ZIP. After 2 minutes of that song, I’d rather she just Zip her mouth shut.

Moving to NYC Sept 2nd. Looking forward to seeing American Idion, Aadams Family, Fela!, La Cage Aux Folles, Little Night Music, Memphis, Million Dollar Quartet, Promises Promises, Wintuk
Here_I_Go_Again
Broadway Star
joined:9/17/03
re: PAL JOEY REVIEW
Posted: 12/12/08 at 11:19am
WOW i saw it last night and i must agree with everything you said about the show
best12bars
Broadway Legend
joined:6/29/05
re: PAL JOEY REVIEW
Posted: 12/12/08 at 06:41pm
Nicely written, detailed review. Thanks for sharing it!
"Jaws is the Citizen Kane of movies."
blocked: logan2, Diamonds3
Ed_Mottershead
Broadway Legend
joined:10/20/05
re: PAL JOEY REVIEW
Posted: 12/12/08 at 09:28pm
Why is Broadway World runnnig features about its opening when that was postponed until December 18? Because it was SUPPOSED to open on December 11? Confused here.
BroadwayEd
theminutepast
Broadway Star
joined:2/1/06
re: PAL JOEY REVIEW
Posted: 12/12/08 at 10:34pm
Yeah. If it opened last night, why can't I find a review on the NYTimes website?
ThankstoPhantom
Broadway Legend
joined:10/13/05
re: PAL JOEY REVIEW
Posted: 12/12/08 at 10:47pm
Apparently, they celebrated the show last night? What is that all about?
How to properly use its/it's: Its is the possessive. It's is the contraction for it is...
PalJoey
Broadway Legend
joined:3/11/04
re: PAL JOEY REVIEW
Posted: 12/12/08 at 11:30pm
The press opening was postponed a week when the switched leads, but they had already committed to the party, subscribers, attendees, etc. So they decided to call the 11th an "opening celebration" instead of a traditional opening night.

It will open for the press on the 18th. Reviews that night and Friday the 19th.
yr pal,
joey




Blocked so far: suestorm, Master Bates
A Director
Broadway Star
joined:12/18/07
re: PAL JOEY REVIEW
Posted: 12/13/08 at 01:24am
Once the reviews come out, there might be very little to celebrate.
RentBoy86
Broadway Legend
joined:2/15/05
re: PAL JOEY REVIEW
Posted: 12/13/08 at 01:36am
I feel like he shouldn't still be finding the basics of his character. It's a little late, don't you think? He wasn't bad in the role - he could dance, and his acting wasn't horrible, but he just didn't have any spark. Every line sort of had the same innuendo and line delivery. I wish him luck!
PalJoey
Broadway Legend
joined:3/11/04
re: PAL JOEY REVIEW
Posted: 12/13/08 at 01:36am
There might also be a lot.

That's the thing about theater: Sometimes it all comes together, despite the wagging tongues.
yr pal,
joey




Blocked so far: suestorm, Master Bates
RentBoy86
Broadway Legend
joined:2/15/05
re: PAL JOEY REVIEW
Posted: 12/13/08 at 01:44am
I'd be surprised if it does.

I was in the rear mezz and about three people around me were audibly snoring and the entire row in front of me said "Well that was horrible" as soon as the house lights came up after the curtain call. Not a good sign! I still enjoyed myself.
lightguy06222
Broadway Star
joined:12/3/06
re: PAL JOEY REVIEW
Posted: 12/13/08 at 05:21pm
Thanks for all your comments guys- I am going to write reviews for all the shows I see this week!
Moving to NYC Sept 2nd. Looking forward to seeing American Idion, Aadams Family, Fela!, La Cage Aux Folles, Little Night Music, Memphis, Million Dollar Quartet, Promises Promises, Wintuk

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